Potential prebiotic efficacy on blood inflammatory markers, gut microbiota composition and tolerance and skin conditions in healthy females aged >50 yrs over a 3-month period

Staff: Adele Costabile, Michelle Sahai & Leigh Gibson

Description. In our gut, we host trillions of microorganisms. Altogether, these microbes form a community, called the “microbiome”. This population is affected by many external elements, such as our diet. The microbiome is very important for the digestion of food and we now know that they can also affect our mood. They do so by communicating with the brain via the so-called “gut-brain axis”. At present there are few studies exploring other stress-related conditions such as emotional/comfort eating behaviours, particularly in individuals who have experienced early life stress and/or find stress difficult to deal with. Here we propose a multidisciplinary in vivo intervention feeding study, performed with a variety of psychological, computational predictive models and microbiological tests aiming to highlight both cognitive function, emotional bias and response to stress, as well as metabolic and species profiles of the gut microbiota. In this project, we aim to better understand the effects of prebiotic intake on the microbiome and gut-brain communication with the aim to generate novel translational insights. Bringing these ideas together in this interdisciplinary approach will provide a deeper, integrated, mechanistic understanding of how prebiotic structure and composition, brain physiology and the microbiota interact to bring about defined health benefits. The proposed work will reveal detailed novel insight into the mechanisms underpinning the role of prebiotic on health, which in turn will open up further routes for translation and exploitation through the rational design of foods and food ingredients to optimise their impact on human nutrition and health.